Malden Public Schools (MPS) announced that the district has been awarded a Food Security Infrastructure grant in the amount of $110,309 for the purchase of the food truck. This will help provide Malden students with access to free and nutritious meals on a regular basis. Recognizing the struggles families are facing during the pandemic, MPS wanted to ensure that access to food was not a burden to families and set out to find an innovative way to address food insecurity.
Prior to applying for the grant, school department officials examined the data related to the number of families accessing free meals each day. Recognizing that traveling to schools while also balancing the demands of work and remote learning posed a challenge for many families, the school department applied for the grant in early August and proposed the purchase of a food truck to travel throughout the city and bring food to neighborhoods. The rationale behind the proposal was that eliminating the barrier of traveling to pick up food each day would increase the number of students able to access the free and healthy meals they need, particularly during a time when buildings are closed. During this pandemic, food insecurity has been a major issue in many cities across the state and nation, and MPS wanted to make sure that Malden students would have access to free meals both during the school year and in the summer.
“These unprecedented times have posed a number of significant challenges to our students and their families,” said Mayor Christenson. “We are grateful to point person Toni Mertz and the innovative thinking that has resulted in this award which will allow us to serve a greater number of families and hopefully make life a bit easier for them during such difficult times.”